Sundance Film Festival picks shorts from Iran

December 19, 2021 - 18:22

TEHRAN – Two Iranian shorts will be competing in the Sundance Film Festival, which will take place in Park City, Utah, from January 20 to 30.

The films are the acclaimed animation “The Fourth Wall” by Mahbubeh Kalai and “Orthodontics” directed by Mohammadreza Mayqani.

“The Fourth Wall” shows a stuttering boy who transforms an Iranian kitchen into a fantastic cosmos. The father’s body becomes a refrigerator, the mother’s belly a washing machine whose spin cycle gives birth to a screaming baby. Even birds on tiles and detergents have a surprising life of their own. 

This exuberant animation, dotted with real-life elements – fried eggs, broken plates, pieces of cheese – develops a subtle wit, ironizing ingrained family patterns.

Produced at Iran’s Documentary and Experimental Film Center, the film has been screened at numerous international events and has won several awards. 

The film won the Zlatko Grgic Award at the 31st Animafest Zagreb in Croatia and an honorable mention at the Leeds International Film Festival in England.

“Orthodontics” tells the story of Amitis, a teenage girl who always has headgear as part of orthodontic treatment, suddenly does something strange to her friend Sarah.

The films were screened at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia in November, but they failed to win an award. 

82 titles, including 39 by first-time feature directors, have been selected from 3,762 feature submissions to be screened at the Sundance festival.

“We’ve been through a lot these past two years and I think that has had a huge influence on what artists are concentrating on,” said Sundance’s director of programming, Kim Yutani.

Photo: “Orthodontics” directed by Mohammadreza Mayqani.